January 26, 2020 / 10:36 AM / 24 days ago

Paris cancels Lunar New Year parade over coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: A helicopter flies over the Arc de Triomphe during the traditional Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees Avenue in Paris, France, July 14, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

PARIS (Reuters) - Paris-based Chinese associations have canceled a Lunar New Year parade following the coronavirus epidemic, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said Sunday.

“I have met with the Chinese community in Paris. They are very emotional and concerned and they have decided to cancel the parade that was scheduled for this afternoon at Place de la Republique,” Hidalgo said on Europe 1 radio.

“They are really not in a mood to party now,” she added.

The city of Bordeaux in southwest France on Saturday also canceled planned Chinese New Year festivities in order to limit infection risk and as a gesture of support to the victims in China, its mayor said.

On Sunday, China said the death toll from the virus has risen to 56 and that 1,975 people have been infected.

A scattering of cases have been confirmed abroad, including in France, where three people have been infected, all Chinese nationals. Two are in hospital in Paris, one in Bordeaux.

Chinese New Year celebrations in Rome, originally set for Feb. 2, have also been postponed to a future date, a spokeswoman for the Chinese community in the city told Ansa news agency on Sunday.

“All the community agreed the celebrations should be postponed because there are people who are sick and it’s not the case to celebrate,” Lucia King said.

Reporting by Geert De Clercq and Gwenaelle Barzic; Additional reporting by Stephen Jewkes in Milan; Editing by Toby Chopra and Frances Kerry

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